UNT rugby players arrested for stealing SHSU banner

A friendly rivalry turned ugly Friday night as several members of the visiting University of North Texas club rugby team were arrested after attempting to steal a Sam Houston State University banner from a light pole on campus.

Abayomi Bokini, John Halligan and Charles Austin, all members of the Mean Green club rugby team, were attempting to cut down a banner bearing the SH logo outside of Austin Hall when they were spotted by a student assistant on foot patrol in the area, according to UPD chief Dennis Culak. The student then contacted UPD officer Daryl Allphin who responded to the scene and told the students to come down and speak with him.

Upon the officer’s request, all three students fled the scene and were apprehended shortly thereafter near sorority hill. Bokini, Halligan and Austin were all booked into the Walker County Jail on Class B misdemeanor charges of theft and evading arrest.

“They said they were attending a rugby game here and that they were doing a scavenger hunt,” Morris said. “That’s according to the report by the investigating officer.”

UNT Director of Sport Clubs Billy Mathews said he had not heard about the incident but said he would be handling the situation.

“No, we haven’t heard about it,” Mathews said. “But I’ll give the players a chance to sit down and we’ll discuss it.”

Calvin Ballenger, student leader of the club rugby team, also said the situation would be handled at a later date.

“Right now, I have no comment,” Ballenger said. “We haven’t addressed [the situation] yet.”

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